• Election Results

    The results are in!  Fran Zumwalt was again elected and supported as GEA President; James Messina will be taking over the position of Vice President; and Jay Tweet will assume the position of Treasurer.  

    Thank you to all members who voted and showed their active support of our leadership.

    Recognize that even though all the candidates ran unopposed, these 3 people did step up into roles of leadership that are time-consuming and often difficult. The people in the roles of leadership put in countless unpaid hours to work for the interests of the GEA Membership. They value the profession of teaching and believe in the institution of public education.

    Thank you Fran, James, and Jay for all you do and once again congratulations!

Recent Articles

Grievance Settlement

This past summer, three grievances were filed on behalf of GEA Members. The three grievances were resolved with the following agreements:

    1. The GEA members who taught summer school in 2014 will be paid a 3.5% salary increase for working from July 1, 2014 through July 14, 2014. The Grossmont District had in the past not provided salary improvements for summer pay until the summer following a salary settlement. That was part of our old contract language. The new summer school language that members ratified in June 2014 did not include any salary delay. GEA argued that all employees receive their salary increase starting July 1 - and GEA members should be treated no differently. The District agreed to this change. The district verified that a retro payment will be made for the salary adjustment for those who taught 2014 summer school on their October pay warrant.
    2. Valhalla teachers worked for one additional hour beyond their standard work week (beyond their restructured schedule) during CA State mandated testing in the 2013-14 school year. The District agreed to pay Valhalla teachers their per diem rate for one additional hour. GEA has asked the district to verify that a retro payment will be made for one additional hour for Valhalla teachers at their hourly rate in the October pay warrant.
    3. In the 2013-14 school year, GEA members were asked to teach during their prep hours for their colleagues who were attending professional development. GEA learned that frequently 25 to 50 teachers did not have substitute coverage, and there were not enough substitutes to cover their school business absence. No records were kept of the many hours of coverage teachers provided. The district took advantage of contract language that said the district did not have to pay teachers who covered classes during their prep period for "unanticipated" absences. GEA pointed out that professional growth absences - ARE ANTICIPATED - and do not qualify as "UNANTICIPATED." Therefore teachers cannot be asked to cover for their colleagues during their prep periods for professional development absences. The district agreed to the following:
        1. A centralized calendar will be created so that multiple professional development events are not scheduled on the same day, creating a substitute shortage.
        2. The district will recruit more substitutes. The district recognizes that due to a shortage of substitutes, surrounding districts are offering high rates of pay to substitutes when they are running professional growth training (San Diego City pays $144 per day). The district agrees that it must plan for the cost of substitutes when offering professional growth to employees, as other districts have.
        3. There will be a rotation for GEA members who are asked to substitute during their prep periods for their colleagues for unanticipated absences. The same GEA members should not be asked to give up their prep period a second time before all others have been asked to cover once.
        4. If there is a shortage of substitutes on a day when professional growth events are scheduled, and a teacher does not have a substitute - that teacher will return to their regular assignment.

No more than 40 students per class:
GEA is working with the district to reduce the number of classes that are over the cap of 40 students.

Counselor ratios:
GEA asked that the district provide enrollment numbers by school site to review counselor/student ratios.

November election:
GEA provided lunch to members during a GEA lunch meeting at all district school sites over the past two weeks. If you missed those meetings, be sure to ask your GEA Rep for important information on the November election, and how it could impact Grossmont District students and employees in future years. Be sure to share GEA's recommendations for the November elections with colleagues, friends, neighbors and family members. Information is available at GEA-Action.org.

Grants / Class Size / Contract / GEA Lunch meetings

Hello GEA Members,

Welcome to the new school year!

This message contains information on:

1. A Stipend opportunity - Common Core Curriculum - Instructional Leaders needed - CTA/Stanford Grant to Support Common Core Curriculum Units

2. GEA Monitoring of class size with the Grossmont District

3. GEA Contract

4. Watch for an invite to a GEA lunch meeting (lunch provided) at your site soon.


1. CTA/Stanford Grant to Support Common Core Curriculum Units -- Teacher "Instructional" Leaders are needed to help implement the Common Core Standards throughout the state of California. You can submit names as a team. The team can include administrators. A stipend is included.

The deadline is September 17!!! See the attached application - for the project description of a grant that CTA, the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE), and the National Board Resource Center (NBRC) received to create an Instructional Leadership Corps (ILC) of accomplished classroom teachers, site leaders, administrators and higher education professionals. The ILC will provide expertise for the instructional shifts needed to implement the CCSS in ELA and Mathematics, and the NGSS; support the design and implementation of school-based professional learning around instructional practice; and create and lead regional professional development. Teachers chosen to participate in the ILC will receive a stipend of $2,000 for the first year. The online applications is located at: https://stanforduniversity.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5oojo9AvOMsay0Z.

Please contact Marlene Fong, IPD Consultant for Region 2, at: mfong@cta.org<mailto:mfong@cta.org> if you have any questions.

2. GEA will be meeting with the district after the second week of school to make sure that all classes with over 40 students have been balanced to no more than 40. It is a contract violation to have more than 40 students in all classes except PE and performing arts, and it is not safe or fair to our students to have more than 40 students in a room.

3. The new GEA contract will be posted soon on GEA-Action.org.

4. GEA lunch meetings are planned for September -- Lunch will be provided -- Watch your emails for more information.


Fran Zumwalt
GEA President

Supreme Court Ruling regarding Union Dues and Fair Share (for non-union members)

Hello GEA Members,

A very important Supreme Court ruling was issued on Monday, June 30, 2014. The case was called Harris v. Quinn and it had to do with union dues.

Briefly - the Supreme Court upheld an earlier case called the 1977 Abood case, which set up the requirement that a union – as the exclusive bargaining agent – had to represent all employees, both union and non-union members. In return for being the exclusive agent for all employees, the union could have union dues and fair share fees (agency fees paid by non union members) deducted from employee paychecks. This fee structure insured that the costs of bargaining contracts and providing other representation services would be fairly paid for by all who benefited.

As GEA President, I am very proud that the Grossmont Education Association has a very high percentage of union members. Of our 880 member bargaining unit, 94 percent are GEA members. That shows that GEA members stand together, unified to support each other with contract negotiations and work place relations and conditions.

In Harris v Quinn, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in support of eight health care workers who did not want to join a union that would have represented their interests a the bargaining table. Their case was funded by an anti-union organization.

Some of you may have worked in a job that had no union. Unions represent the interests of all members to insure fair and equal treatment in the work place. Often people working the same job in a non-union environment earn less in salary and have worse work conditions than those who benefit from union representation and membership. One can argue that unions help protect the middle class.

There are some very wealthy people who have funded court cases to challenge union dues and fair share fees collections. You can read about one such group who supported bringing Harris v Quinn to the Supreme Court, and how CTA fought to defend your interests and your union in this case, in the articles following this message.

Watch your emails and the GEA-Action.org Website for updates during the summer.

Fran Zumwalt
GEA President

Here follow two informative articles: 

President's Update on Teacher Autonomy and Common Core


Respected GEA Members,

On Monday -- June 16 – The Grossmont School Board adopted the Grossmont District’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), with one important revision to Goal # 5.

Originally, Goal #5 of the LCAP stated, “Implement district-wide curriculum and assessments aligned to Common Core State Standards (including next generation Science Standards) as measured by Smarter Balanced summative results.”

The Board deleted “district-wide” from Goal # 5 of the LCAP.

Thus Goal # 5 now reads, “Implement curriculum and assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards…”

GEA contends this change prevents TOP-DOWN District control of curriculum -- and insures teacher autonomy – the right of teachers’ to use their expertise to determine what their students’ curricular needs are with the implementation of Common Core Curriculum in the Grossmont District.

Many Grossmont teachers who read a draft of the Grossmont LCAP shared their objection to the term, “district-wide” curriculum in Goal # 5, with GEA. They argued that implementing a “district-wide” curriculum sounded very much like a plan implemented in San Diego City Schools, called the “Blueprint for Success.” In that top-down, district-generated plan, teachers were instructed to implement a proscribed curriculum each day of the school year. Teachers were not permitted to adapt the curriculum for the needs of their students.

As GEA President, I spoke during “public comment” about teachers’ LCAP concerns prior to the Board adopting the LCAP – And the Board agreed to change the LCAP language – deleting ‘district-wide.’ The Board listened to GEA and to you!

Here follows my public comment delivered to the Grossmont Board on Monday:

President Shield, Members of the Board, Superintendent Swenson and Cabinet,

Recently, GEA and the District signed a contract that creates a Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Committee of Teachers and Administrators. The committee will review how the Grossmont District's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and LCAP will support teachers and student learning.

However, a CRITICAL CONCERN that Grossmont District Teachers have regarding the LCAP, and which they have not been able to address with the LCAP Committee because it has not met yet, is the current LCAP Goal # 5, which supports IMPLEMENTING a DISTRICT-IMPOSED CURRICULUM.

Imposing a DISTRICT-WIDE Common Curriculum discounts the one ‘thing’ that most positively impacts student success – TEACHERS connecting with and assessing their students’ skills and then developing a curriculum that addresses their clienteles’ needs.

TEACHERS KNOW what curriculum design is best for their students. TEACHERS ADAPT curriculum to their students’ academic skills to promote further growth, TEACHERS SELECT topics that excite student interest and participation, TEACHERS SUPPORT their students’ extra curricular activities – AND their students are successful as a result.

Therefore -- Curriculum should be developed by the STUDENTS’ TEACHER and should not be dictated by ‘distant’, district administrators.

Yes, teachers must refine lessons to address the new Common Core Curriculum standards, but the beauty of Common Core is that its application can be varied from classroom to classroom. What will work for one teacher, in terms of curricular content and teaching style, may not work for the class and teacher next door, or at the school down the road, because the clientele in each classroom has different needs. Common Core requires higher order thinking skills, it requires a rethinking of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Higher Order Thinking – Creativity is now higher on Bloom’s Taxonomy than Evaluation, for example – but the selection of texts, the method of analysis, the assessment of understanding produced by students and evaluated by the teacher – DO NOT have to be proscribed and identical.

As we adopt the LCAP, let’s make sure it protects the TEACHER’S CHOICE, EXPERTISE, AND AUTONOMY to design the curriculum that will work best for ALL STUDENTS.

Fran Zumwalt

GEA President

GUHSD School Board Vote and AB215 - Teacher Dismissal

Hello GEA Members,

Thank you for voting in support of the Tentative Agreement (TA).

The GUHSD School Board voted unanimously last night to approve the the tentative agreement. Two of four Board Members are running for re-election in November 2014. One board seat will be open for election in November, as Dick Hoy will not be running for re-election in the fall.  

School Board elections matter -- they affect our success in the classroom and at the bargaining table

The GEA Exec Board will be monitoring the November 2014 School Board election process which starts in the summer. GEA leaders work very hard to have a collegial relationship with board members. That collegiality mattered recently with the successful approval of the our TA.

Using posts on GEA-Action.org and your home email, we will keep you informed on the November election of school board members.

Regarding the Vergara case -- which, if CTA and AFT lose their appeals, would be devastating to teacher due process, dismissal and layoff rights -- the Vergara proponents argued that current laws do not allow for teacher dismissal in a timely matter and are therefore unconstitutional. 

I assure you that teachers are dismissed using current laws, but because teacher dismissal is a personnel matter, those actions are private in most cases. For that reason you do not hear about them. In fact GEA Reps and Grossmont Administrators are told to keep such matters confidential. Therefore, it is easy to believe the myths touted by those who are anti-public education, that laws protecting teachers' due process rights are bad, that they prevent dismissals and they are never changed.

You can assist in refuting these myths. Attached you will find a CTA news release about AB215, a new teacher dismissal law recently passed by both the California State Assembly and the Senate. It was supported by Democrats and Republicans, and Governor Brown is expected to sign it into law soon. CTA supported the passage of AB215 which revises teacher dismissal regulations, ensuring swift action will be taken so that students are safe, especially regarding child abuse cases.

Please read the attached.

Thank you for your support on GEA's Tentative Agreement - And have a safe, restful summer break!

Fran Zumwalt
GEA President


Bargaining Update: TA Approved by GUHSD School Board at Meeting Thursday Evening

The Grossmont School Board approved the TA... And the impact of the 1% improvement (Jan 1, 2014) and the 3.5% increase starting July 1, 2014, will in effect result in a 4.5% salary schedule improvement over two years.

The contract language will be updated and a new contract posted as soon as possible after July 1, 2014.

Have a wonderful summer break!

Bargaining Update - GEA Tentative Agreement reached - June 5, 2014

Hello GEA Members,

Today, GEA and the District completed a Tentative Agreement for the GEA Contract for 2013-14 and 2014-15.
Please see the attached documents. A salary schedule with adjustments for 2013-14 and for 2014-15 will be sent to you as soon as possible, but was not available today.

Thank you for your support to GEA's Bargaining Team. The Bargaining team has worked very hard to achieve the best contract agreement possible. When you see them please thank the Chair, Linda Pierce, and team members, Bryan Ross (V.P.), James Messina(V.P.-elect), Doug Coffin, Jay Tweet (Treasurer-elect), and Fran Zumwalt (Pres.).

GEA leaders will be holding a GEA General Membership meeting on Tuesday, June 10, at 3:30 PM in the old Grossmont gym to address questions you may have. Following this meeting, members may vote on the Tentative Agreement. If members cannot make it to the meeting on Tuesday, voting will be available at the GEA Office from 9 AM to 5 PM on Wednesday and Thursday, June 11 and June 12. Voting will end at 5 PM Thursday, June 12 and the ballots will be counted thereafter. The results will be sent to you via email.

Once again, thank you for your involvement.

Fran Zumwalt
GEA President

Day of the Teacher/Educator 2014

To All GEA Members:

As the "Day of the Teacher/Educator" approaches – on May 14 (Wednesday) – I encourage you to check with your GEA Reps, as each school's Reps have planned a different event to celebrate you and your work.

Be sure to acknowledge your colleagues who have reached the special milestones of 20, 25, 30 and 35 years-of-service to students in the Grossmont District. Their names are listed below:

20 Years of Service:

Bridget J. Barelka, Santana
Lisa B. Crocker, Santana
Paula J. Degado, Monte Vista
Robert L. Dennison, El Capitan
Lisa D. Drake, Granite Hills
Brian John Gilwee, Valhalla
Michael Halverson, Valhalla
Deborah L. Heeb, West Hills
Christine Hoover-Smelko, Monte Vista
Elizabeth Hostetler, El Capitan
Harold J. Mumford, Mt. Miguel
Chris Nelson, Mt. Miguel
Hillary D. Park, Grossmont
Gary Pennefather, Grossmont
James H. Rose, Santana
Victoria St. John, El Cajon Valley
Trampus Thomason, Helix
Karri Thompson, Santana
William Watzke, Grossmont
Marla West, Santana
Laura Zoch, Monte Vista

25 Years of Service:

Renate Armstrong, Granite Hills
Kenneth Biblowit,z Valhalla
Luis Castro, Mt. Miguel
Dolores M. Dreher, Granite Hills
John R. Houston, Granite Hills
Curtis McKenzie, Granite Hills
David W. Moore, Chaparral
Deanna Potts, Valhalla
Jennifer Romanowski, West Hills
Bryan Ross, West Hills
Carrie Williams, Chaparral

30 Years of Service:

Brian Anderson, Valhalla
Karen Bowers, Monte Vista
Jacqueline Dewald-Mason, West Hills
Mary K. Dukas, West Hills
Frank Foggiano Jr,. Grossmont
Cheryl Kay Gabler, West Hills
Melissa J. Hassell. Santana
Althea K. Miller, Santana
James E. Minor, Grossmont
Christopher Nowlin, El Capitan
Carolos J. Ortiz, Monte Vista
Michael Petrivelli, Granite Hills
Robert H. Ridgeway, Grossmont
Joseph N. Unden, El Capitan
Christine Villalobos, Granite Hills
Donald Walker, Santana

35 Years of Service

Linda L. Browman, Santana
Sandra K. Howes, El Cajon Valley
Jane Nolan, El Capitan


As public education employees, you provide an extraordinary service to your students, your schools, and your community without seeking fanfare or limelight.

The work isn't easy, and there are many who seek to criticize our schools, but regardless of that all of you make a positive difference, every day, making sure our students learn and develop the skills and confidence they need to be successful contributors to their community and country. Thank you!

One thing that strikes me about Grossmont Educators is the remarkable diversity and experience we have to offer – and the unique way each of you with your various areas of expertise contribute to the wealth of offerings so beneficial to our students. Thank you!

I am inspired that you show appreciation of and support for colleagues both in your subject area and in departments other than your own. Thank you for supporting your colleagues!

And I am impressed with you connectedness with your students beyond the classroom, supporting them in the stands as they perform in sporting events, or in plays and concerts.

Everywhere I travel, in every meeting I am in, from Santana, to El Capitan, to Valhalla, to Mount Miguel, to the district office, I am deeply impressed and inspired by all of you. You are the ambassadors for our schools and our profession in our community. Thank you for keeping your messages to community members positive and supportive about your profession!

Thank you for taking on the challenges of Common Core curriculum, and helping our students get past the stress of multiple mandated tests.

You have spent your whole career believing in something that will always be critically important. You believe in education. You believe in the power of education for our students. There is no more important line of work than this. Thank you for your work, and for supporting each other in that work.

It is a privilege to work with you.

Fran Zumwalt
GEA President